Budget 2013: Chancellor talks up tax breaks for start-ups

Houses of Parliament

The Chancellor has used his fourth Budget since the Coalition Government came to power to announce a shake-up of the UK's tax rules, a move that could boost the country's tech start-up community.

In a mixed address, George Osborne revealed the UK's growth forecast had been slashed by the OBR to 0.6 per cent, around half the rate predicted in his Autumn Statement, as the UK continues to feel the economic effects of the Eurozone crisis.

However, he also announced that the OBR has predicted that 600,000 new jobs will be created this year, with the private sector generating six jobs for every one the public sector cuts.

Meanwhile, it was also disclosed that the Government's cost-cutting agenda has resulted in the deficit falling from 11.4 per cent of GDP to 7.4 per cent this year, and is forecast to hit 5.4 per cent by 2014/2015.

The cost of employing people is a real barrier to taking people on.

In the lead up to his stat spouting, Osborne described this year's Budget as one for people who "want to work hard and get on".

As part of this, he announced moves to cut the amount of tax businesses pay when they take on new staff, with the arrival of the Government's new Employment Allowance initiative in April 2014.

This will take the first 2,000 off the employer National Insurance bill of every company, and means some 450,000 small businesses will not have to pay any once the rules come into effect.

It could provide the UK's tech start-up community with a boost, by making it cheaper for them to employ more staff and free up funds that can be re-invested in their businesses.

"[We want to] support jobs and the small businesses that create them...as the cost of employing people is a real barrier to taking people on," said Osborne.

During the address, which was noticeably light in references to the tech industry, he claimed the Government was focused on providing the country with the fastest broadband and telephony services in Europe, but stopped short of setting out details of how this will be achieved.

This could be supported, though, by the Chancellor's promise to boost infrastructure spending by 3 billion in 2015/2016.

He also flagged research and development as a key part of the UK's growth plans, by setting out plans to increase R&D credits by 10 per cent, and backed the findings of entrepreneur Doug Richard's recent apprenticeship reforms review.

"I accept Michael Heseltine's excellent idea of a single competitive pot of funding for local enterprise, and I fully endorse the report of Doug Richard...as the reform of apprenticeships is probably the single most important policy we're pursuing," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.